Federal prosecutors seized a sizeable fortune in stolen bitcoin last year. The pilfered cryptocurrency wasn’t kept in a safe or a lockbox at the bank. It was found in an old popcorn tin.
For the last 10 years, the federal government has been looking for billions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin stolen from Silk Road.
Silk Road was an online marketplace the U.S. government seized back in 2013. At the time, Silk Road was described as an underground website used primarily for illegal drug trafficking and money laundering.
When Silk Road was seized, 50,000 Bitcoin were missing.
According to U.S. prosecutors, 32-year-old James Zhong tricked Silk Road’s processing system into releasing the funds into his accounts in 2012.
At the time, the bitcoin were worth more than $3 billion. Since then, the value has dropped by about two-thirds.
According to court documents, Zhong was hiding the billion dollars’ worth of stolen bitcoin on a computer, which was stored inside a popcorn tin in his bathroom closet.
Authorities seized the computer from Zhong’s Georgia home in November of last year. It is the Department of Justice’s second largest financial seizure to date.
Reuters contributed to this report.
IF YOU HAD A SIZEABLE FORTUNE OF BITCOIN, WHERE WOULD YOU KEEP THE COMPUTER THAT HAS ALL THAT CRYPTOCURRENCY?
IN A SAFE? MAYBE A LOCKBOX AT THE BANK? PROBABLY NOT AN OLD POPCORN CONTAINER, BUT THAT’S EXACTLY WHERE FEDERAL PROSECUTORS SAY ONE GEORGIA MAN WAS HIDING MORE THAN A BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF BITCOIN.
FOR THE LAST TEN YEARS, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN LOOKING FOR BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF BITCOIN STOLEN FROM THE SILK ROAD.
THE SILK ROAD WAS ONLINE MARKETPLACE THE US GOVERNMENT SEIZED IT BACK IN 2013. IT WAS DESCRIBED AS AN UNDERGROUND WEBSITE USED PRIMARILY FOR ILLEGAL DRUG TRAFFICKING AND MONEY LAUNDERING.
WHEN THE SILK ROAD WAS SEIZED, 50,000 BITCOIN WERE MISSING.
ACCORDING TO U.S. PROSECUTORS, 32-YEAR-OLD JAMES ZHONG TRICKED SILK ROAD’S PROCESSING SYSTEM INTO RELEASING THE FUNDS INTO HIS ACCOUNTS IN 2012.
AT THE TIME, THE BITCOIN WAS WORTH MORE THAN $3 BILLION. IT HAS SINCE LOST ABOUT 2/3’S OF ITS VALUE.
ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS, ZHONG WAS HIDING THE BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF BITCOIN ON A COMPUTER WHICH WAS STORED INSIDE A POPCORN TIN IN HIS BATHROOM CLOSET.
AUTHORITIES SEIZED THE COMPUTER FROM ZHONG’S GEORGIA HOME IN NOVEMBER OF LAST YEAR. IT IS THE DOJ’S SECOND LARGEST FINANCIAL SEIZURE TO DATE.